Playing Characters You Hate

October 26, 2018

When you play a role-playing game, you adopt the persona of someone other than you. In American RPGs, this often just means that you're running a fictional version of yourself with a different race and a lot of swords, spells, or guns. But what if the character you play is intentionally your anathema? For example, what if you personally believe wholeheartedly in giving others second chances, but your character believes that if someone fails, they are irredeemably flawed? For your next character, instead of reaching for your comfort zone, try out something brand new. Imagine the group of people you most hate in the real world. Take the second worst after that, and build your character's defining traits based on them. This is not new advice. But here's where it gets interesting: Figure out why your character genuinely believes they have the best possible outlook. Play them that way. Their defining traits that you hate so much may change in subtle ways. Or they might not. Either way, you might gain an interesting insight into the “other side.”